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Meet the Facebook HBCU Summer News Fellows

Meet the fellows
The 2021 Facebook HBCU Summer News Fellows were carefully selected from Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country. As HBCU juniors, seniors, or recent graduates, fellows are individually paired with a local or national news organization for 8 weeks. In this time they will work on enhancing the organization’s presence on Facebook and Instagram. We believe that each student has something special to offer not only to their assigned organization, but to the media industry as a whole. Take some time to meet the fellows and hear about their unique perspectives! They will certainly be ones to watch.
Gabrielle Chenault
Hampton University, Journalism
Los Angeles Times
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am excited for this program because I have the opportunity to work with a newsroom that I have respected and admired for a long time.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
HBCU students bring a different and often overlooked perspective. We bring a certain creativity and genius that cannot be replicated.
Raven Harper
Hampton University, Digital and Print Journalism
Texas Tribune
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am excited to join this program to combine my love of storytelling and content creation to educate my fellow Texans working with audience and engagement at the Texas Tribune this summer.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
I believe students with HBCU backgrounds bring a fresh and different perspective to newsrooms across the country that will contribute towards diversifying not only the news we see everyday but the way we see news.
Bianca Byrd
Oakwood University, Broadcast Journalism and Spanish
Univision
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am excited to join the program because I want to bring my passion for journalism and digital production to Univision to become a better storyteller and content curator so I can provide a strong voice for the voiceless through news and stories that entertain, inform and empower Hispanic America through a wide variety of content.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
HBCU students bring the skills of empathy, understanding and genuine connection to this program and newsrooms. Students who have attended HBCUs understand that our skin color is not a weakness. It is what makes us unique and beautiful. We have a special way of thinking that provides an incomparable perspective in the work we do. We know how to rise above others thinking we are inferior and never give up on the goal of making this world a better place.
Jamari Rose
Univ. Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Multimedia Communications
Washington Post
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am excited to join the Facebook HBCU Students Fellowship Program because it allows me to not only elevate my career to a whole new level, but also explore my potential in an advanced arena. I am thankful for this opportunity because it provides students from a powerful demographic the access to audiences from nationally accredited and well respected platforms.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
HBCU students provide a host of unique skills to this program as well as newsrooms. HBCU students bring forth an elitist educational background, a thorough understanding of the responsibility within media itself, and the value behind creating content with an impactful influence. I am confident that the HBCU students selected for this program will make captivating contributions to the newsrooms assigned.
Mimi Navah
Clark Atlanta University, Mass Media Arts
Scalawag
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am excited to join the program because I get the chance to network with other professionals within the media industry. I am excited to learn new skills and possibly gain an opportunity before I walk across the stage next May.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
HBCU students bring the light to the media in general. We live in a world where Black voices are silenced. As a student of Clark Atlanta University, I am making it my goal to shed light on those that are being ignored and silenced. HBCU students understand the implications and dangers of letting false narratives circulate within the media. I want to use my education to expand people’s perspective and destroy any misconceptions. I feel that is my job as a writer within any space.
Jada Orr
Howard University, Public Relations
Daily Memphian
Why are you excited to join the program?
I’m excited to join the program not only for the direct learning opportunity that I’ll get to experience, but also to be amongst a group of fellows who are pushing forward in media and communications. The program marks the beginning of a network of some of the leading communications professionals growing out of our HBCUs.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
HBCU students are on the pulse of the culture that influences our nation each and every day. HBCU students are groomed to develop a level of grit and dexterity that stands out in the world of media and communications. There are many HBCU-bred media professionals who are consistently redefining what success looks like in journalism, public relations, legal communications, and more. Their successes are a testament to the skills that HBCU students bring to newsrooms and companies across the nation.
Peter Iwuh
Morgan State University, Strategic Communications
Advance Local
Why are you excited to join the program?
I’m excited to join this program because I’ve always wanted to diversify my marketing experience beyond my entertainment experiences and this opportunity is a great opportunity for me to gain insight on how marketing and content creation is conducted in the national news field. This program also gives me the opportunity to apply what I’m learning in my Strategic Communication classes and my News Readiness Certificate from Poytner and into real-life application.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
HBCU students bring to diversity, Gen Z Perspectives, and awareness to the program and news room. As natives of the digital area were able to identify what attracts engagement, conversations, and organic interactions on social media through quality content. This program places black rising leaders at the forefront of the industry enabling us to use social media to amplify news on social media in a modern and creative manner. Super grateful.
Rushaad Hayward
Morgan State University, Multimedia Journalism
Fox O&O
Why are you excited to join the program?
I’m excited to join the program because I’m excited to get some real-world experience in the field. I’m ready to learn as much as I can and welcome any challenge with open arms. This position is a fairly new one, so I’m trying to bolster my skills to be a versatile journalist.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
As HBCU students, we bring unique perspectives from our individual backgrounds. We offer insight and critical thinking to all areas of the program. This applies to the newsroom as well because we can offer ideas that haven’t been thought of or even explored. Coming from smaller schools has prepared us for these challenges.
Richard Wallace
Morgan State University, Communications and Spanish
Entravision
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am excited to join the 2021 HBCU Summer News Fellowship Program because I see it as an opportunity for me to use my skill set in a completely different atmosphere. I am excited for the challenges this program will bring to me as I will be working with and completing projects with newsrooms that I would have never even imagined working for.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
The skills that we all bring are so infinite, unique and different from each other that it is impossible to narrow them down. HBCUs produce and cultivate leaders who all bring something different to the table whether it be in the arts, technology, sciences, personality or anything that sets them apart which allows for us to come together and produce great work.
Aquil Starks
Howard University, Communications
iOne Digital
Why are you excited to join the program?
I’m excited to join the program because it supports Black creatives.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
HBCU students bring their experiences to the program to help navigate or drive youth culture, and American youth culture revolves around Black culture.
Jazmine Thomas
Spelman University, International Studies
Mundo Hispanico
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am excited to join this program because I want to be able to provide innovative ideas to a newsroom. In addition, I want to learn more about what the news environment looks like and truly gain experience within the field that I am passionate about.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
Innovative thinking is a critical skill that HBCU students will bring to the program and to newsrooms across the country. I believe that the HBCU experience is one that is extremely rare and being able to experience 4 years of life through the HBCU lens stimulates a unique growth process within students. The HBCU experience alters your mindset in a way that cannot be duplicated in any other environment which tends to produce new and original ideas.
Jasamine Byrd
Oakwood University, Broadcast Journalism
Salt Lake Tribune
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am super excited to join this program because it has allowed me to connect with other journalists of color and gain real – time experience working in a newsroom. I realize that this experience will be very vital in preparing me for my career, and I look forward to taking everything I learn into the news industry.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
HBCU students bring a sense of diversity, tech savviness, youthfulness, creativity, adaptability, and awareness of pressing issues to this program and newsrooms globally. As a result, I believe these unique skills will really break the barrier and the norm for how news is presented and create new and exciting ways for news to be interpreted in today’s society.
Janaya Britton
Texas Southern University, Radio, Television & Film
THE AFRO
Why are you excited to join the program?
I’m eager to learn from experts in the news and digital media field. Also, I am excited to connect with other HBCU students and shake up the world with my own creative content, utilizing the knowledge and network I’ve gained from this program.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
First off, we’re hungry, we’ve got so much passion and drive. HBCU students have a cunning eye for what moves the culture because we ARE the culture! So much inspiration and innovation come from HBCUs. We bring a fresh, vibrant perspective that consumers need in their media. More representation and a new storyline!
Kenyatta Coleman
Clark Atlanta University, Journalism
Chicago Tribune
Why are you excited to join the program?
I’m excited to join the program because this is the opportunity for me to showcase my talents as a multimedia journalist within the space of such a large publication. Being a part of reshaping the social media presence of the Chicago Tribune is definitely a pinch-me moment, so I’m very excited to show them I’m an asset to their team.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
To me, HBCU students bring all of the skills, especially within mass media, because as Black students, we are trained to be multifaceted in each area so that we are always prepared for opportunities such as the Facebook HBCU News Fellowship. We can bring various perspectives that can take these publications to bigger and better heights.
Tia Alphonse
Xavier University of Louisiana, Mass Communication
Chicago Tribune
Why are you excited to join the program?
This program places students at real news organizations where we get the opportunity to experiment with various storytelling strategies for social media. Since this program is looking for innovation, I know my creative and out-of-the-box ideas are always welcome. This program also gives me access to cutting-edge technology and tools available only through news organizations.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
Students from Historically Black colleges and universities are a huge asset to this program because we are used to interacting with the young diverse audiences to whom newsrooms are frequently trying to target their content. We are also digital natives who have seen technology evolve and have evolved along with it as professionals and personal users on the platforms. Our fresh eyes and unique perspectives are a recipe for innovation.
Rhyann Sampson
Hampton University, Journalism
Essence
Why are you excited to join the program?
This program has allowed us students entry to some of the most renowned and respected newsrooms that we typically don’t get to access. Being able to kickstart a new wave of audiences for these companies is such a unique privilege and I am excited to see what I and the other fellows curate and inspire.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
HBCU students bring so much insight to the program and to newsrooms due to our dynamic and intersecting experiences. We are now able to reflect our perspectives on a mass scale and bridge the gap between newsrooms and audiences. HBCUs foster so many vibrant students that are eager to share their voices.
Kai Davis
Xavier University of Louisiana, Mass Communication/ Multimedia Concentration
PBS Newshour
Why are you excited to join the program?
To be able to put the skills we have learned at various universities and bring them to news/media organizations on a national scale is quite amazing. Especially for me, having this experience is something I would have never imagined. Now I am able to participate and do my best for PBS NeedHour through the Facebook HBCU Summer News Fellowship.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
I feel, as HBCU students, we are able to understand on a personal level to other minorities and people of color. To help with expressing and engaging with those audiences is a key and essential tool for any and all newsrooms that I feel HBCU students can bring to the program.
Ariyon Dailey
Florida A&M University, Journalism
Boston Globe
Why are you excited to join the program?
I’m excited to join the program because it provides such amazing opportunities for HBCU students! Although it virtual for the time being, this program allows be to step foot in doors that I may not have been invited to in the past. I’m eager to work with these organizations and produce amazing work that I can take to the next level!
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
The special thing about HBCU students is that our universities and personal lives provide a unique perspective to storytelling and audience interaction. When HBCU students are put into the newsroom, they’re able to provide character, style and voice that you won’t find in other students. The Black experience and perspective deserves to be amplified and held to the same desire and standard as other stories. HBCU students provide fairness and a level of equality with stories and how we chose to tell them.
Trinity Corbett
North Carolina A&T University, Journalism & Mass Communications
Savannah Morning News
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am excited to join this program because it provides me with an opportunity to get real professional experience before I enter my career, post-graduation. Not to mention I am able to learn so many new things that I can use to help further develop my skills.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
A couple of unique skills that HBCU students bring to the program are fresh ideas as well as insight. Considering that HBCU students are often referred to as the generation of social media, we have the expertise and knowledge needed in order to help companies get the attention of newer audiences, thus expanding their reach. For news to stay a relevant medium for public information, Newsrooms have to find new ways to attract the younger crowds, and being that we are a part of the younger crowd, we are the perfect group of people to help them do so.
Tanyia Foster
Howard University, Media, Journalism & Film
USA Today
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am excited to join the program because I am looking forward to helping my newsroom create content that can connect and engage a younger generation.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
I believe HBCU students bring diverse perspectives to news.
Indira Gooding
Alabama State University, Communications Radio & TV
The Root
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am super excited to make new connections, network, and contribute great ideas to my news room. Building my portfolio and putting myself in uncomfortable positions to further my growth is always exciting especially when I get to collaborate with others. I come from a well rounded up bringing which helps me contribute diverse perspectives and unique ideas that go beyond what may be right in front you.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
HBCU student’s bring diversity to these programs, but also bring a different type of culture. We are able to give point of views that stand out from societal norms and standards. We contribute radical ideas and knowledge bred amongst other Black students of a competitive nature. Going to an HBCU, you really learn about yourself and get comfortable with speaking your mind. Confidence is built within these spaces and helps you to become comfortable in a variety of different settings.
Deasia Lamar
Howard University, Public Relations
Women’s Health
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am so excited to be a part of this program because it is an amazing opportunity to gain insight into the inner workings of some of the top newsrooms across the country. At Women’s Health, I am learning so much about social media and instagram. I am really getting to sink my teeth into creating new ideas with the guidance of experienced professionals in the industry.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
I think that HBCU students bring a unique skillset to the program because of our differing perspectives. Coming from an HBCU, we are able to speak to a diverse audience. As Generation Z, we are largely internet natives that are savvy on social media and knowledgeable about popular culture.
Ezekiel Hobbs
Florida A&M University, Public Relations
St. Louis Dispatch
Why are you excited to join the program?
That I will get to learn more about building a relationship with your audience through the different forms of communication. I will be able to get real world experience and provide my own ideas and suggestions. I’m excited about my building my portfolio and connecting with others in this profession.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
Personality and provide trends that people may know about. We know more about the culture when it comes to AA individuals. We know how to communicate and provide actual information that AA individuals go through.
Jordan Rencher
Howard University, Media, Journalism & Film
VOX
Why are you excited to join the program?
I’m excited to join the HBCU fellowship program because it is a great opportunity to learn more about the diverse roles in journalism. I love portraying stories through various mediums such as print, video, art, and more. It’s extremely exciting getting to play a role in informing and entertaining the public. I love knowing that the work I’m doing is positive, impactful, and making a difference.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
HBCU students all have unique experiences, backgrounds, and viewpoints. We are innovators, and we are constantly imagining unique and creative ways to tell interesting, necessary, and untold stories. HBCU students bring levels tenacity, determination, and hard work like no other. Our voices behind the scenes aid newsrooms in achieving their goals and reaching vast audiences in the pursuit of serving, educating, and elevating consumers of the media.
Calyx Stover
Hampton University, Journalism
NY Mag
Why are you excited to join the program?
I am excited to join the program because as a 2021 graduate I am eager to begin my media career and use my voice to tell stories and provide perspectives that are diverse.
What unique skills do HBCU students bring to the program and to newsrooms specifically?
I believe a unique skill that HBCU students bring to the program and newsrooms is the ability to communicate black pride. There is so much that encompasses the black experience (hair care, food, dance, fellowship) and HBCUs teach us to embrace it. That way, when we enter the professional world we will be prepared to exhibit that there is more to being black than the less positive things that are often portrayed in the news.

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